We all know that professionals at all levels – and especially those in sales and marketing roles – understand the need to create the right impression, and as a result spend time and energy on developing a powerful LinkedIn presence. But in reality, LinkedIn can be a great asset for anyone wanting to climb the career ladder, and especially if you’re looking to change jobs. Enabling your interviewer to peruse your LinkedIn profile and get a feel for your experience, your personality and the content you’re adding and sharing can be invaluable. There’s certainly no need to feel embarrassed about shouting about your successes and endorsements as they will demonstrate how you would be able to contribute to the company’s future.

But where do you start when it comes to creating a strong LinkedIn profile?

Profile picture
Your choice of profile picture will speak volumes about you. Remember that LinkedIn is a professional platform, so it’s best to keep it simple, and recent. Go for a headshot, wear the sort of clothes you’d normally wear to work, and smile.

Background photo
As it’s your other visual opportunity, you can use your background photo to convey what makes you tick and what’s important to you.

You can expand the headline in your profile beyond a simple job title to include key words around what you do currently, and this can give potential employers a good insight.

Rather making your summary simply a list of previous employment, why not use it to tell your story? That’s guaranteed to make it more engaging and memorable.

You may be tempted to cram your profile with management speak, but that can actually turn a potential employer off. Our advice is to avoid it and to be yourself!

A LinkedIn profile with minimal connections doesn’t look good, so it’s worth investing some time in researching and connecting with key contacts. If you meet someone new and decide to stay in touch, invite them to connect.

Skills and skills assessments
Make sure that your profile includes your key skills, but don’t be tempted to create a long list – longer doesn’t necessarily mean better! You might also like to take a skills assessment as that will allow you to demonstrate your skills and to display a Verified Skills badge on your profile. Research suggests that having verified skills can improve your chances of being offered the position by up to 30%.

Endorsements and recommendations
Endorsements are powerful, so be prepared to endorse your contacts and request them from other connections. For key contacts, it can be helpful to request that they go one step further and recommend you – for a prospective employer, even a handful of recommendations will indicate that your contribution has been valued.

LinkedIn Learning
LinkedIn Learning allows you to complete courses and provide updates on your profile, and it’s no secret that employers everywhere will value a commitment to continuing professional development.

Sharing and commenting
Raising your profile on LinkedIn takes time, but you can accelerate the process by sharing and commenting on your connections’ posts.

Selecting a few relevant influencers to follow can also have a positive impact on your profile as it will help to populate your feed with exciting content, some or all of which you can share and comment on.

As Rosa dos Santos, owner of Exact Sourcing, observes, landing your dream job can be tough, so it’s important to have everything working in your favour, not least your LinkedIn profile. ‘Several factors will influence your interviewer when they’re deciding whether they should offer you the job or not,’ comments Rosa. ‘They’ll be weighing up your demeanour, your body language and your answers to key questions, but they’ll also most likely have taken a look at your LinkedIn profile to do some background research. Given that, and the fact that LinkedIn can provide a shopwindow for your skills, experience and opinions, we encourage all our candidates to spend some time improving and honing their profile as you never know who might be taking a look.’

Exact Sourcing is a recruitment agency in Cambridge and Newmarket, and we also serve Ely, Bury St Edmunds, Haverhill, Royston and Sawston. If you’re looking to take the next step in your career and would welcome some advice, please contact us for an initial conversation.